Monday 26 May 2014

Meet My Main Character - Say hello to Beobrand

Another month, another blog hop.

This time I have been tagged in a blog hop called Meet My Main Character, by the talented historical novelist, E.M.Powell. The idea is that each writer tagged answers the same set of questions about the protagonist of their latest work. To have a look at E.M.Powell's responses to the questions see here.

At the end of this post, I give details of the writers I have tagged, who will post their own answers the week after me. Check them out, as they are all great writers of historical fiction.

Here are my answers. Enjoy!

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historical figure/person?

The main character in my novel THE SERPENT SWORD is called Beobrand. He is a fictional character, but his life is intertwined with figures from history as he leaves his native Kent and travels to the Northumbrian kingdom of Bernicia.

Sketch of an Anglo-Saxon warrior I did way back at the conception of the story.

2) When and where is the story set?

The story is set in 633 AD. It mainly takes place in Bernicia, the northernmost kingdom of Northumbria. Northumbria in the seventh century is a melting pot of races and religions. The Angles vied for supremacy against the native Britons. Christianity was also beginning its inevitable conquest over the old religions of both the Britons and the Anglo-Saxons.

The shifts in power and the battles between the different kings of the period provide a perfect backdrop for Beobrand's story.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Beobrand is a young man, just seventeen. He travels north in search of his last remaining kin, his older brother. Arriving at the fortress of Bebbanburg, Beobrand discovers that his brother is dead. He is desolate and vows to find his killer and avenge his murder.

He is relentless in pursuit of his enemies and the challenges he faces change him irrevocably. Just as a great sword is forged by beating together rods of iron, so Beobrand’s adversities transform him from a farm boy to a man who stands strong in the clamour and gore of the shieldwall. 

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

At the start of the book, Beobrand is in a very dark place. His family are all dead and he finds himself thrown into a world of battle and conflict he had only dreamed about in the way boys dream of being soldiers.

On his journey, Beobrand fights in several battles, both small and large. He is also witness to atrocities that haunt him for the rest of his life. It is his desire to right the wrongs he has seen, and to mete out vengeance for his brother, that drives him forward.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

In the first instance Beobrand seeks vengeance. Later he also strives to bring justice to those he has seen commit terrible crimes.

But in the end, his most defining goal, even though he himself may not be aware of it, is to find a place to belong. Like most people, Beobrand seeks love and home. Unlike most people, he is a natural with a sword, and finds himself embroiled in more than his fair share of intrigues and battles.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The working title for the novel is THE SERPENT SWORD. 

I am now working on the sequel, which is tentatively titled, THE CROSS AND THE CURSE.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

THE SERPENT SWORD is currently out for consideration with several publishers, so if everything goes well, I may have a book deal in a month or two. I imagine that the novel would then see the light of day sometime in 2015.

Watch this space!

The next writers in this blog hop

Here are the next three talented writers I have tagged in this blog hop. They should be posting their own answers to the questions a week after me.

They all write historical fiction, a couple in the same area and period as me, so, if you are interested in the sound of my main character and my story, you should definitely check out their blogs and websites.

Edoardo Albert

Edoardo Albert is, on paper, an exotic creature: Italian, Sinhala and Tamil by birth, he grew up in London among the children of immigrants (it was only when he went to university that he got to know any English people). His proudest writing achievement was reducing a reader to helpless, hysterical laughter. Unfortunately, it was a lonely-hearts ad. Edwin: High King of Britain, his first novel, has just been published by Lion Fiction; at the moment, he’s writing volumes two and three of The Northumbrian Thrones trilogy, a biography of Alfred the Great with osteoarchaeologist Dr Katie Tucker and a spiritual history of London. He is quite busy. Edoardo is online at, and on Facebook and Twitter, @EdoardoAlbert, too.

Elaine Moxon

Elaine Moxon is a Birmingham-based Historical Fiction writer and former Holistic Therapist. Her grandfather’s tales of his youthful adventures in rural Italy gave her a love of storytelling, inspiring her to write from an early age. She has a passion for languages, travel, art and history, her favourite eras predominantly the Saxon and Viking ages. She has contributed articles, short stories and poetry to online magazines ‘Birmingham Favourites’ and ‘Crumpets & Tea’. Her Grime-Noir Thriller short film ‘Deception’, produced and directed by Lightweaver Productions, has been nominated for the 2014 American Online Film Awards in New York. She is also a frequent speaker at Letocetum Roman Museum in Wall, Staffordshire, giving historical talks and readings from her forthcoming debut novel ‘Wulfsuna – Blood, Betrayal & Brotherhood’.
Elaine's blog:

Derek Birks

Here is what Derek has to say about himself:
I live in Berkshire in England. Apart from writing, I enjoy travelling and I spend my spare time gardening, walking and reading. I've also discovered archaeology and I am currently taking part in a long term dig at a Roman villa site.
I taught history for many years and that experience has enabled me to gain some small insight into what people find interesting in historical material. I've read historical fiction for as long as I can remember but probably the greatest influence on my humble efforts would be Bernard Cornwell.
Derek's website:
Derek's blog:


  1. Can't wait to see Beobrand come to life in your book!

    I like the way your novel titles have something of the alliteration of Old English poetry.

    1. Hi Aly,

      Thanks for reading the blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I can't wait to see Beobrand appear in a book either! Hopefully that will happen in the not too distant future! Watch this space.

      Glad you like the titles. I like the alliteration too. I have also used kennings and tried, where possible, to use words rooted in Old English in the novels. I think it gives a certain depth and authenticity to it.


  2. Beobrand sounds a very intriguing character! I love hurling adversity and obstacles at my characters as it really brings out each and every trait and emotion.

    Beobrand certainly seems to have plenty to overcome to reach his personal goals. I get a feel, from how you have written this blog piece, that your book has quite a fast pace.

    Like you, I love using Old English where possible. The sound and feel of these words add depth to the prose as well as a sense of time and place.

    Wes thu hal, leof Matthew!

    1. Wes thu hal, Elaine!

      Thanks for reading and posting.

      Beobrand does indeed have a lot of obstacles in his life. I feel quite sorry for him, but it makes for a good read. :-)

      Re the pace, that is one word that has stood out from all reviewers and my agent. It is a very pacey novel. Punchy and action-packed.

      All the best with your own book. Looking forward to reading Wulfsuna soon!